Turning trash into artworks

UNDP Bhutan
4 min readMar 9, 2022

Meet Loday Wangmo, Founder of Zangden Flowers, a home-based business that makes home decorative pieces, mostly flowers, out of waste materials.

Loday Wangmo lives in Bhutan’s capital Thimphu

Loday Wangmo is living her calling, which is to breathe new life into waste. The 24-year-old makes flowers, baskets, vases and many other decorative pieces out of waste materials. It’s a skill she learned in 2016. At the time, Loday had just completed her 12th Grade and signed up for a waste management course conducted by RENEW.

The experience has been a life-changing one. Loday has since looked at waste differently. “It opened my eyes to the value of trash and the importance of recycling and upcycling waste for the health and wellbeing our planet,” Loday said.

She found herself spending most of her school holidays at the RENEW centre in Thimphu, perfecting the art of creating artwork out of waste materials.

Loday uses tailoring scraps to make flowers

Loday went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in commerce, but soon realized that her love and passion for recycling is too strong to ignore. So, in 2020, Loday applied for the Loden-UNDP COVID-19 Response Fund II support that provided livelihood skills and business support to vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The support enabled Loday to enhance her skills. She underwent a training on tailoring and recycling waste management. And in 2021, Loday founded Zangden Flowers.

A cheery tree in full bloom, made by Loday

She makes the flowers with fabric sourced from tailor shops.

“Tailoring scraps get a sustainable twist at Zangden Flowers,” Loday said. “Fast fashion is overwhelming landfills with a mountain of clothing waste. I am happy that I am helping to turn unwanted garments into something useful and protect the planet.”

Zangden Flowers also upcycles and transforms discarded bottles, stands, filters and many other unwanted things into home décor and art pieces.

Discarded bottles turned into a beautiful home decor piece
Baskets made out of waste

“People buy our products to gift their loved ones. Some buy our flower bouquets to offer to temples and monasteries,” Loday said.

Her mother helps her. “My mother makes better flowers than me. She encouraged me to pursue my passion. I wouldn’t have had the confidence if it wasn’t for her love, support and help.”

As a gesture of gratitude to her mother, she named her business after her mother Zangden.

It’s been an exhilarating journey for Loday. “A little bit of love and labor is all we need to make a difference and save our planet.”

A lamp made using waste materials
Glowing flowers, another beautiful work by Loday
Loday repurposes phone boxes. They are tuned into pretty gift boxes.
Discarded cloth pieces collected from tailoring businesses.

This story is part of our ‘Women for Climate’ series, and celebrates all the ways women and girls taking climate action at all levels. The series is dedicated to 2022 International Women’s Day themed “Gender equality for sustainable tomorrow”.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that climate change impacts women more than men. Women constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on the natural resources which climate change threatens the most. And this but only one of the factors that make women vulnerable to the global climate crisis.

At the same time, women are major actors in coping and adapting to the impacts of climate change, but their voices are not heard. Therefore, empowering women and girls to have a voice and be equal players in decision-making related to climate change and sustainability is essential.

Without gender equality today, a sustainable future, and an equal future, remains beyond our reach.



UNDP Bhutan

Empowering lives and building resilient communities to leave no one behind.